For professionalized populations that have been trained to accept the rule of law, the legality of a contract determines who holds the power in the contractual relationship. From a broader, more mature perspective, law is nothing unless the People view it as legitimate enough to follow.
There are times when what is legal is wrong and what is illegal is right. When a legal system declares too many wrongs legal, the People lose respect for the Law and the Law loses its power. In other words, a legal system that continually fails to address the interests of a population loses its illegitimacy.
This can be seen in economically depressed areas with high levels of crime. Calls by religious conservatives to ignore any Supreme Court’s ruling that favors gay marriage demonstrate a loss of faith in the US legal system. Another example is the ongoing Greek Debt Crisis.
With the US growing closer to India under the Modi government and North Korea seeking stronger ties with Russia, the Chinese government must be increasingly anxious as the world around them changes. Both India and North Korea have served as buffer states against US influence thanks to their rocky relationships with Washington.
In turn, this has helped the emerging global power that is China build its own expanding sphere of influence. An Asia uniting against China and/or neighboring countries seeking stronger alliances with governments from outside of the region undermine China’s ability to pursue its own interests without balancing those needs and wants with those of less powerful neighbors.
Clearly, the rest of Asia and the West have a strong interest in limiting China’s ability to abuse its power, but there is a potential benefit for China as well. Conflicting with the likes of Japan and Vietnam over the last couple of years, China has earned a reputation as somewhat of a bully and this has given the US an opening to reassert its influence in Asia.
While India and China can stand to have a healthier relationship, attempts by the Chinese to subjugate India are eventually going to result in a major conflict. North Korea is, however, a different story.
Over time, the economics of a situation tend to trump all other factors. In the case of the Ukraine Crisis, Russia’s deepening economic crisis will either break the Putin regime or force Europeans to capitulate on sanctions. With the Ukraine Crisis once again escalating, it would appear Russian President Vladimir Putin believes Europeans have a weaker resolve than the Russians do.
On the other hand, it could also signal a new end game strategy for Putin. Not only will the capture of Mariupol directly link Russia to the seized-Ukrainian territory of Crimea, it is a major industrial center and port that will serve as a tangible spoil of war Putin can use to placate the anger of economical hurting Russians. In other words, Putin seems to believe Europeans are willing to lift sanctions whenever he chooses to end the Ukraine Crisis, but he needs to seize enough Ukrainian territory to make the economic pain worthwhile in the minds of the Russian People to secure his political power.
As Europe’s economies are struggling and sanctions against Russia are making things worse, there is clearly a compelling economic argument for European political leaders to use any and all rationales to capitulate on their efforts to punish Putin for his abuse of Ukraine. Given Ukraine has traditionally been a part of Russia’s sphere of influence with a puppet government in Kiev, Europeans continuing to sacrifice for the elusive political freedoms of Ukrainians is becoming a harder sell. Even in terms of national security, there is a chance that Russia’s increasingly aggressive behavior toward other countries is only a response to sanctions and the sacrifice of Ukraine would pacify Putin’s need to feel secure.
Obama and Modi celebrate Republic Day: strengthening America’s relationship with India through honesty
In asking US President Barack Obama to serve as his guest of honor in Sunday’s Republic Day celebrations, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi demonstrated his commitment to a closer relationship with the United States. President Obama’s participation in India’s “Fourth of July” celebration demonstrates India is among the President’s top priorities. Symbolically, the leaders of the two largest democracies coming together to share their first Republic Day provides a united front for democracy that foreshadows the future of governance throughout the globe.
As globalization continues to reshape the nature of the International Community, the world is democratizing. Not only are the governments of countries and the International Community as a whole democratizing, the many Peoples of the world are as well. This means governments must be increasingly responsive to the needs and wants of their Peoples in order to maintain stability and sustain peace.
Governments like that of newly minted Saudi Arabia King Salman may not become full-fledged democratic states, but they will have to become more sensitive to the voices of their Peoples and recognize modern governments exist to serve the interests of the People, not government exists to be served by their subjects.
That said, India’s greatest problem when it comes to offering responsive governance is its size, along with its legacy of weak, inefficient government. Providing enough food, water, shelter, energy, and jobs for what will be the world’s largest population in a few years is a challenge. Fortunately, America’s agricultural sector can help provide for the basic needs of the Indian People.
Treating Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as though he is an equal to President Obama in the US government by inviting the foreign leader to a joint secession of Congress, similar to what is seen during the President’s State of the Union Address, in early March, the move appears to be a long-planned effort to upstage the Executive Branch as the body that traditionally handles foreign policy manners. It also appears to be a means for Congress to demonstrate the President is not needed for Congress to act while undermining his credibility on the subjects of foreign policy and national security.
That said, Congress has the right and duty to provide oversight of the Executive Branch in all its functions as well as entities funded by American taxpayer dollars. Given the main reason Prime Minister Netanyahu is visiting Washington is to advise the US Congress on security matters in the Middle East, i.e. terrorism and Iran’s nuclear program, there needs to be real effort to engage Mr. Netanyahu, especially since Netanyahu is expected to advise Congress in a manner slanted toward Israel’s interests. Although Congressional hearings seem to do little aside from offering lawmakers a chance to get attention, including the Prime Minister in a few hearings could shed some light on all of the subjects he is coming to discuss.
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